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BACKGROUND: Limited evidence existed on the comparative effectiveness of decompressive craniectomy (DC) versus craniotomy for evacuation of traumatic acute subdural hematoma (ASDH) until the recently published randomised clinical trial RESCUE-ASDH. In this study, that ran concurrently, we aimed to determine current practice patterns and compare outcomes of primary DC versus craniotomy. METHODS: We conducted an analysis of centre treatment preference within the prospective, multicentre, observational Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury (known as CENTER-TBI) and NeuroTraumatology Quality Registry (known as Net-QuRe) studies, which enrolled patients throughout Europe and Israel (2014-2020). We included patients with an ASDH who underwent acute neurosurgical evacuation. Patients with severe pre-existing neurological disorders were excluded. In an instrumental variable analysis, we compared outcomes between centres according to treatment preference, measured by the case-mix adjusted proportion DC per centre. The primary outcome was functional outcome rated by the 6-months Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended, estimated with ordinal regression as a common odds ratio (OR), adjusted for prespecified confounders. Variation in centre preference was quantified with the median odds ratio (MOR). CENTER-TBI is registered with, number NCT02210221, and the Resource Identification Portal (Research Resource Identifier SCR_015582). FINDINGS: Between December 19, 2014 and December 17, 2017, 4559 patients with traumatic brain injury were enrolled in CENTER-TBI of whom 336 (7%) underwent acute surgery for ASDH evacuation; 91 (27%) underwent DC and 245 (63%) craniotomy. The proportion primary DC within total acute surgery cases ranged from 6 to 67% with an interquartile range (IQR) of 12-26% among 46 centres; the odds of receiving a DC for prognostically similar patients in one centre versus another randomly selected centre were trebled (adjusted median odds ratio 2.7, p 

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Acute subdural hematoma, Comparative effectiveness research, Craniotomy, Decompressive craniectomy, Instrumental variable analysis, Practice variation